Olympics: Judging 'revolution' in wake of gold scandal

By Mike Rowbottom
Tuesday 19 February 2002 01:00

The system of judging in ice skating is to be revised in the wake of the controversy over the pairs competition here, Ottavio Cinquanta, the president of the International Skating Union, announced yesterday.

In what Cinquanta described as "a total revolution", 14 judges, rather than the current nine, will vote in competitions, and a computer will pick seven of their marks, discarding those at either extreme, combining them into a total score. The old system whereby each skater starts with 6.0 points and tries to keep as much of the mark as possible will be discarded.

There will be set marks for technical efficiency, but the judges will have leeway to award subjectively in terms of artistic merit. Which judges' marks have been chosen, and how each counting judge has scored, will remain secret. The measures are due to be adopted at the ISU congress in Kyoto, Japan, in June.

"This system will reduce to a minimum the prospect of block judging," said Cinquanta, who added that the ISU enquiry into allegations of vote trading involving the French judge in the pairs, Marie Reine La Gougne, had been asked to work "fast".

Cinquanta's announcement came less than 24 hours after the joint ceremony at which the Canadian skaters, Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, stood alongside the original Russian winners, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, to accept the medals that officially gave them a share in the title.

"The case is solved for us," said Pelletier. "The case is not solved for skating."

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